Ted Leonsis Rumors
In October, three Arena Football League teams ceased operations and two other teams joined a competing indoor football league in a matter of days, shrinking the AFL from nine teams to four. While the shake-up prompted questions about whether the Ted Leonsis-owned expansion franchise Washington Valor would ever play a game, the Monumental Sports & Entertainment chief executive doubled down on the future of the league by acquiring a second AFL team in Baltimore. The as-yet-unnamed franchise, which was announced Monday, will begin play along with the Valor in the spring 2017 and play its home games at Baltimore’s Royal Farms Arena.
His “free agent” comment aside, Leonsis made it clear he is not actively seeking to leave downtown D.C., an area that has grown up around the franchises into a thriving, inner-city entertainment and shopping district. But neither would Leonsis commit to keeping the teams there. “In terms of the Verizon Center, I’m being sincere: There’s been no discussions of would we look to move,” he said. “Have we talked to Virginia? We have not. Have we talked to Maryland? We have not. I would never do that. My goal would be stay where we are or stay within the city.”
I also spoke with Leonsis, and he talked about the value he adds to Team Liquid, as someone with several NBA and NHL lockouts in his rearview mirror. “How do you deal with players and one day a union that emerges to represent the players? I’ve been on the executive committee of the NHL, I’ve worked on the CBA negotiations, and that I think will become important one day,” Leonsis said.
Taming e-sports without dampening the tremendous energy of the community will be a challenge. And it’s not clear that e-sports, without outside investment from traditional media and entertainment entities, would be up to it. “It’s endemic,” Leonsis said of the toxicity. “Anonymity drives a lot of people’s courage. And in the gaming industry, that community needs to do a better job of policing itself without coming off like it’s establishment.”
Jeff Zillgitt: Following news that 76ers bought eSports franchise: announced today Peter Guber & Ted Leonsis bought controlling interest in eSports team.
Sportradar AG, a sports data company whose clients include global bookmakers, last year took on three high-profile investors with one thing in common: All own NBA teams. The Swiss company hoped Mark Cuban, Michael Jordan and Ted Leonsis could help with its expansion into the U.S., where sports betting — if legalized — could be a multi-billion-dollar industry. So far, it seems to be working. Sportradar and data analytics firm Second Spectrum are said to be close to a six-year, $250 million contract with the NBA, according to people familiar with the negotiations.